Taming the beast (a.k.a. my child).

Box... head... monster... thing. With good taste in music.

The Terrible Twos have officially commenced in our house. This past weekend we had smacking, kicking, tantrums and a lot of ‘corner’ time. Corner time, we are realising, is completely and totally useless. Especially when I say to MM, “Do that again and you’ll go in the corner. Do you want to go in the corner?” and he replies with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” He used to quiver at the idea of corner time but that was six months ago and now he’s a seasoned pro. He doesn’t like it when he’s in there but he doesn’t fear it like he once did and, really, what’s the point of parenting if you can’t instil a little fear, amirite?

So, with the explosion of the terribleness of the Terrible Twos and our inability to put up with the attitude any longer, we had to tame the beast. Some might call it bad parenting to call your child a “beast”, I just call it TELLING IT LIKE IT IS. There was flailing. Flailing. Like his body couldn’t handle the amount of disappointment and frustration he was feeling and it just had to wiggle itself out of his body, one limb at a time. First feet stomping and kicking, then arms smacking and swinging , and then throwing his body dramatically to the ground where the torso would jump a bit while the legs and arms flailed. And then screaming.

All this over not being able to look at Thomas on the iPad. Or not getting toast after he refused it. Seriously?

So, we ignored it. He wouldn’t pick up his toys and then instead decided to throw a hissy fit because we wouldn’t let him play with anything else. Some might say he is only two, surely I can’t expect him to pick up his toys. Of course I do. He has arms and legs (remember – they flail!) and the coordination to pick things up with his tiny fingers and put them into a huge and spacious toy box. I’m not asking him to build a ship in a bottle, I’m asking him to simply pick up his toys. Not only that, I’ve seen him do it a million times before. It was only yesterday that he decided he wasn’t going to do it. In fact, he was dead set on doing everything else he could think to do BUT pick up his toys.

So we ignored the mess and we ignored his pleas for different toys. We ignored it when he slapped and when he begged for Thomas on TV. We asked him calmly to pick up his toys and reminded him that when he did that he would be able to play with other toys but until then he was going to sit in the living room surrounded by his mess and watch James Bond with daddy. And believe me, darling, this is not only torturing you, it’s torturing mommy as well because there is nothing more boring than a James Bond film.

And...it worked. By some miracle our son, after sitting and doing nothing at all for a whole hour, decided to pick up his toys. And not only did he pick up his toys, he sang a song while doing so. A cheerful song, not like a song with a heavy base outlining how he’s going to chop up his parents bodies and bury them in the back garden. No, it was a clean-up song.

I need to know the name of the musician who wrote a happy little song about cleaning and what exactly he is on. I want in.

There is something to be said about not acknowledging the bad behaviours and playing up the good ones. Yes, we know we need to teach him that hitting is wrong, calling people names is rude and will get you punished and that baked potatoes might look weird but with some sour cream and cheese, they are pretty damn tasty -- but when he is looking for negative attention, we will ignore it. We will encourage good behaviour that will result in a reason to give positive attention (along with heaps of constant love, of course). A slap will still land him (or me, or Bub) in the corner but all the flailing hissy fits are not on our radar anymore. And hopefully they aren't on his anymore, either.

(We know this isn't true.)

(But we can still hope, right?)

Tamed beast. I'm pretty sure they're reading Ulysses. Classy gents. 

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Liz in Dublin